The media is hysterical. It’s been hysterical for much of the last year, so it’s hard to say what should really warrant our concern, but it seems President Trump’s immigration executive order — which temporarily banned refugees from seven terrorist-plagued countries — should.
“As protests grow, Trump immigration pause provokes crisis,” a New York Times headline read.
“In Michigan, families torn apart by visa ban are at odds with Trump supporters,” the Washington Post reported.
“Trump’s immigration order creates an international mess,” Politico said.
Lady Liberty is crying according to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and his counterpart in the House, Nancy Pelosi, warned Mr. Trump’s administration has “mistaken strength for cruelty.”
According to The New York Times Sunday edition, the immigration ban “draws deep anger” with only “muted praise.” I couldn’t find a single article that outlined the merits of Mr. Trump’s executive order in the entire paper — although there were more than four articles that told me how bad it was.
I was surprised when I woke up on Monday morning and found the world was still spinning.
Putting the rhetoric aside, Mr. Trump’s executive order is entirely reasonable and represents a pullback from his original proposal of a widespread Muslim ban.
It also has the support of many within the conservative movement. It was its roll-out — and several unforced errors made from the new and young administration — that caused the chaos.
“The instant backlash, which has culminated in thousands of protesters creating chaos at the nation’s airports, is the result more of knee-jerk emotion than a sober assessment of Trump’s policy,” the editors at the conservative National Review wrote.
“It’s a well-documented fact that would-be terrorists are posing as refugees to obtain admission into Europe, and visa screenings have routinely failed to identify foreign nationals who later committed terrorist attacks in the United States. As the Islamic State continues its reign of terror across a large swath of the Middle East, it should be a matter of common sense that the U.S. needs to evaluate and strengthen its vetting,” the National Review said.
And that’s what Mr. Trump’s executive order is — a temporary halt on refugees coming from countries without stable governments (with the exception of Iran) — so that the U.S. can shore up and improve its vetting process.
It’s the “extreme vetting” that Mr. Trump repeatedly called for on the campaign trail, and made good on in his first week in office.
The seven countries singled out in Mr. Trump’s executive order were originally defined by the Obama administration as “countries of concern” because of their terrorist ties. With the exception of Iran, none of the countries have fully functioning central governments, preventing thorough vetting.
And although Mr. Trump has lowered the number of total refugees accepted into the country at 50,000, those numbers are in line with George W. Bush’s two terms, and Mr. Obama’s numbers, before his last year in office when he ramped up the quota.
Moreover, Mr. Trump’s immigration ban is based on precedent. In 2011, Mr. Obama stopped processing refugees from Iraq for six months because his administration was fearful of terrorist infiltration. Last month, Mr. Obama shut the door on refugees coming from Cuba by revoking the “wet foot, dry foot” policy.
No, Mr. Trump’s actual executive order isn’t the problem; it was his administration’s roll-out of it.
First, there was confusion about whether the ban was being applied to green-card holders, which was opposed by many conservative organizations because of the thorough vetting this group already receives.
On Saturday, the Trump administration said green card residents had to request an individual exemption before traveling, but then reversed course on Sunday, saying all permanent residents were exempt amid the backlash.
It was a sloppy, unforced error that should’ve been clear to all involved when Mr. Trump signed the order on Friday.
Furthermore, there’s been reports that not all the agencies involved in the execution of the order were briefed on its details, leading to widespread confusion regarding its implementation.
By Monday, things seemed to be sorted out — but that was only after a federal judge issued a temporary injunction that blocked the deportation of some detained at airports and other judicial decisions challenged the implementation of the order.
Moving forward, it would be wise for Mr. Trump’s administration to get all of their ducks in a row before issuing such sweeping policy decisions — for the press and Democratic Party will be quick to pounce and exploit whatever vulnerabilities they may see.